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Meet our GWIS Honorary Membership Award Recipients

Full List Available Here

2011 - Jean H. Langenheim, Ph.D.
Plant Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Dr. Jean H. Langenheim, born in Homer, Louisiana, grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma where she graduated from the University of Tulsa with a B.S. in plant ecology in 1946. Upon graduation, Dr. Langenheim went to the University of Minnesota for her M.S. and Ph.D in ecology (with a minor in geology). Her Master’s focused on plant succession of a subalpine earth flow and her Doctorate on the vegetation and environmental patterns of the Crested Butte area of Colorado. Jean took her first full professional career in 1961 when she moved to Harvard University where she studied fossil resin. She conducted the first chemical studies of the botanical origin of amber through geological time and concluded that the greatest diversity of trees that produced these resins occurred in the tropics and subtropics. During this time she was a Fellow in the Biological Laboratories and a Scholar of the Radcliffe Institute for Independent Study as well as a Cabot Fellow and an American Association of University Women Wiley Fellow. In 1966 she moved to the University of California, Santa Cruz where she holds professor emeritus status. Throughout her tenure, she has served on multiple boards (Board of the Directors of the Organization of Tropical Studies, United States National Academy, NSF Committee on Projects Flora Amazonica, to name a few) and has received many honors (appointment as Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, Distinguished Alumna of the University of Tulsa). In addition to her groundbreaking research on resin-producing stress, Dr. Langenheim is a well-respected teacher who maintains excellence in her teaching and is passionate about the future role of women in ecology. She is a published author, including a recent memoir titled “The Odyssey of a Woman Field Scientist: A Story of Passion, Persistence, and Patience”. She was awarded the National SDE/GWIS Honorary Membership Award in 2011 after being a member since 1952.

2011 - M. Rosalind Morris, Ph.D
Plant Sciences

Dr. Rosalind Morris was born in Wales in 1920 and received her B.S. in a male-dominated Agriculture program from the University of Guelph. She continued her education at Cornell University where she was one of the first women to obtain her Doctorate in Plant Breeding. She continued to be a pioneer in agriculture when she was the first female faculty member in the agronomy department at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln as well as becoming the first woman honored as a fellow of the American Society of Agronomy. Her work on developing genetic wheat stocks has provided a premier resource base for the field of functional genomics. Dr. Morris has since retired from her faculty position at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was awarded the National SDE/GWIS Honorary Membership Award in 2011.

2008 - Janice V. Meck, Ph.D.
Cardiovascular Physiology

Dr. Meck received her Masters in Biology in 1982 from Virginia Commonwealth University. She went on to work as a research associate in cardiovascular physiology at MCV. During this time she began to work with NASA on a cardiovascular experiment aboard a space shuttle. Her continued work with NASA at the Johnson Space Center led to her position as the head of the Center’s cardiovascular research lab. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas – Galveston in 2000 and her research has changed the way people think about how extended time in space affects human physiology. She has received multiple honors including the Rotary National Award for Space Achievement and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. She continues to direct the Cardiovascular Laboratory at the Johnson Space Center and is also the Chief Scientist for the NASA Bed Rest Project. Dr. Meck was awarded the National SDE/GWIS Honorary Membership Award in 2008.

2008 – Anne Kopecky Vidaver, Ph.D.
Plant Pathology

Dr. Vidaver was born in Vienna, Austria in 1938 but grew up in Poughkeepsie, New York. In 1960 she received her B.A. in biology from Russel Sage College and went on to receive her M.A. and Ph.D. in bacteriology from Indiana University. Dr. Vidaver became a full professor in 1979 at the University of Nebraska in the Department of Plant Pathology. Her work focused on antimicrobial agents in the biological control of plant diseases and her pioneering work, which was the discovery of the chloroform-sensitive 06 phage, resulted in her election as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Dr. Vidaver’s research interests are varied and her integration of bacteriology and plant pathology has had a significant impact on the resurgence of phytobacteriology. She has received multiple awards throughout her tenure including recognition as a prominent “Woman in Agriculture”. Dr. Vidaver received the National SDE/GWIS Honorary Membership Award in 2008.

2001 – Eva Pell, Ph.D.
Plant Pathology

Dr. Pell was born in New York, New York and received her B.S. in Biology from City College of New York in 1968. She went on to Rutgers University where she completed her doctorate in Plant Biology in 1972. Dr. Pell’s research has focused on the physiological and biochemical impacts of air pollutants on vegetation and has been widely published in her field. Beyond her research, Dr. Pell has held numerous administrative positions, including Vice President for Research and Dean of the Graduate School at Pennsylvania State University. She has also served on multiple state boards including the Ben Franklin Center of Central and Northern Pennsylvania. In recognition for her extensive work and leadership in the field, Dr. Pell was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2003. Dr. Pell worked for Penn State for 36 years before becoming the Under Secretary for Science at the Smithsonian Institute in 2010. She has since retired in 2014. She is still involved with the Smithsonian Advisory Board. Dr. Pell received the National SDE/GWIS Honorary Membership Award in 2001.

2001 – Lydia Villa-Komaroff, Ph.D.
Molecular Biology

Dr. Villa-Komaroff was born and grew up in Santa Fe, New Mexico and received her B.S. in biology from Goucher College. Dr. Villa-Komaroff went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where she completed her Doctorate in Molecular Biology. During her time at MIT, she became a founding member of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS). Dr. Villa-Komaroff was a post-doctoral fellow at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and later Harvard University where she demonstrated in a landmark study that bacteria could be induced to make proinsulin. This was the first time that bacteria synthesized a mammalian hormone and proved to be influential in the birth of the biotechnology industry. She has been faculty at University of Massachusetts Medical School, Harvard Medical School, Northwestern University, and is currently the Vice President for Research and Chief Operating Officer of Whitehead Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dr. Villa-Komaroff has received multiple awards including the Hispanic Scientist of the Year Award, The Leadership Award from the Women Entrepreneurs in Science and Technology, and the Woman of Distinction Award from the American Association of University Women. She received the National SDE/GWIS Honorary Membership Award in 2001.

1999 – Patricia Shaffer, Ph.D.

Dr. Shaffer was born in 1928 in Los Angeles, California where she attended Catholic schools all her life. She received her B.A. in Natural Sciences from the San Francisco College for Women, after deciding in her junior year to enter the covenant. Dr. Shaffer continued her education at Stanford University where she received her M.S. in Chemistry before going on to the University of California – San Diego where she completed her Doctorate in Chemistry in 1975. Her research focused on studying various metabolic pathways and specific enzymes in fungi. Dr. Shaffer’s passion has been encouraging women to study science and has been heavily involved in organizations such as Graduate Women in Science and the Association for Women in Science. She is also devoted to service through her work as a nun in the Religious of the Sacred Heart and a leader in USD’s Founder’s Club, an organization of USD’s Religious of the Sacred Heart devoted to community service. She received the National SDE/GWIS Honorary Membership Award in 1999.

1999 – Sue O’ Dorisio, M.D., Ph.D.
Pediatric Hematology/Oncology

Dr. O’ Dorisio is a well-known and respected researcher and physician at the University of Iowa in Pediatrics – Hematology/Oncology. She received her B.S. in Mathematics from Creighton University and then went on to get her M.S. and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Nebraska. Dr. O’ Dorisio received her MD from Ohio State University where she completed fellowships in Biochemistry, Medicine, and Hematology/Oncology as well as a residency in pediatrics. She currently is faculty at the University of Iowa with appointments in Neuroscience, Biosciences, and Translational Biomedicine. Her research currently focuses on the role of neuropeptides in development of neural crest derivatives and how they are involved in pediatric nervous system tumors. Dr. O’Dorisio has received numerous prestigious awards and grants including the Distinguished Mentor Award and a research grant from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation that is awarded to projects identified as having “high impact potential for childhood cancer research”. She received the National SDE/GWIS Honorary Membership Award in 1999.

1999 – Ruth A. Lawrence, M.D.

Dr. Lawrence graduated from Antioch College and went on to earn her M.D. from the University of Rochester School of Medicine, one of the first women of her era to do so. Because of the heavily male dominated program she was forced to take on responsibilities the men did not want to do, which included being responsible for the university hospital nursery. It was this experience that helped her pioneer neonatology as a specialty where she studied extensively the benefits of breastfeeding. Throughout her career she has worked tirelessly as a researcher, teacher, mentor, and mother and has received numerous awards, including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Academy of Clinical Toxicology and the Albert David Kaiser Medal from the Rochester Academy of Medicine. She serves multiple roles at the University of Rochester such as Medical Director of Breastfeeding and Human Lactation Study Center and the Medical Director of the Finger Lakes Regional Poison and Drug Information Center. Dr. Lawrence received the National SDE/GWIS Honorary Membership Award in 1999.

1999 – Susan J. Henning
Cellular & Molecular Physiology

Dr. Henning was born and raised in Australia where she received both her B.S. and Ph.D. degrees of Biochemistry at the University of Melbourne. She went on to Stanford University School of Medicine and then Fels Research Institute to do her postdoctoral studies in pediatrics and biochemistry, respectively. She has held faculty positions at Temple University, University of Houston, Baylor College of Medicine, and is currently at the University of North Carolina where she serves as professor of medicine, cell biology, and physiology. Dr. Henning’s research has focused on basic gastroenterology science. Her contributions to the field are numerous and the American Gastroenterological Association (AGA) has recognized her work in 2008 when she was selected as a finalist for the “Outstanding AGA Women in Science Award”. She is also the recipient of the prestigious Davenport Award from the American Physiological Society. Dr. Lawrence is highly regarded for her mentoring and is a strong advocate for women in science. She received the National SDE/GWIS Honorary Membership Award in 1999.

1995 – Diana A. Johnson (Redburn), Ph. D.

Dr. Redburn is an esteemed vision scientist currently at the University of Tennessee in the Department of Ophthalmology. She received her B.S. in Biology from Centenary College and then went on to earn her Doctorate in Biology/Neurobiology from the University of Kansas. She completed her post-doctoral studies in Psychobiology at University of California-Irvine. Dr. Redburn’s influential research has focused on the biochemical analysis of neurotransmitters and the understanding of how these influence retinal development and health. She was previously faculty at the University of Texas Medical School at Houston where she was professor and director of basic research in the Department of Ophthalmology and during her time there won the Distinguished Professional Woman Award for her excellent research and support of women in science. Currently, along with being a professor in Ophthalmology at the University of Tennessee, she also serves as the Director of Research. Dr. Redburn received the National SDE/GWIS Honorary Membership Award in 1995.

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